Imagine you have a business trip coming up. An overnight one. You go online, look for a conveniently located hotel, with the best amenities for your allocated budget, and book a room, right? Well, now there’s another option: stay in a private room or flat instead of hotels.
Airbnb, the company famous for disrupting the traditional hotel market, is now pushing to win over companies and business travellers. In particular, helpful tools, like a special dashboard that gives a clear overview of all bookings, are supposed to attract mobility and travel managers to booking accommodations via Airbnb.
The question on everyone’s mind: will it actually work? For now, the hotel industry isn’t afraid. Their occupancy rates and revenue per room remain high and they don’t anticipate feeling the effects in the near future, and even foresee growth.
Are there real advantages?
When it comes down to it, do the benefits of staying in a private property really appeal to the average business traveller? Do businessmen and women care about “feeling at home” on the road – especially if they are not footing the bill? After a busy day, do they actually want to shop for food and cook for themselves, or would they prefer eating out? Honestly, I would bet most would choose the latter.
What’s more, unless they have used the platform to book a private holiday stay, most business travellers probably aren’t familiar with Airbnb. Overnight business trip and staying in hotels go hand in hand in their minds – it’s simply always been that way. In my opinion, it will require more time and effort for Airbnb to change this well-established association.
Good for some
There are certainly instances where Airbnb makes sense for some companies. Start-ups, for example, with tight budgets or employees on extended stays looking for more privacy and space. Or for team building events where the cosier, more intimate setting of a house or flat facilitates the situation’s objectives. But for everyday business travel – especially short trips of 1-2 nights – hotels are likely to remain the top choice.
So where will I be staying?
Generally speaking, I welcome companies that seek to disrupt long-established industries. But I have yet to be convinced that Airbnb offers me, personally, an added value when I travel for business. Maybe that will change, but for now I’m sticking to hotels.
Tell me what you think. Have you booked through Airbnb before? Would you use it for business trips?